2015 was a year of retrenching and preparation for the future in the EV industry. US sales for the year were around 116,000, falling short of 2014’s figure of 123,000.
The Tesla Model S grabbed and held the lead position, handily outselling all other plug-ins in the US with 25,700 deliveries. However, the big news in California was the new Model X, which finally hit the road in September. Tesla delivered 214 copies of the super-crossover, as it slowly and deliberately ramps up production.
The Nissan LEAF was in second place with 17,269 units sold in 2015. The upgraded 2016 LEAF, with a new 30 kWh battery pack that provides 107 miles of range, began to reach dealers in the fall.
The Chevy Volt sold 15,393 units in 2015 as the next-gen model, a redesigned and much improved vehicle, went on sale late in the year (read an interview with two of the Volt’s main architects in the July/August issue of Charged).
The BMW i3 had a strong year, moving 11,024 of the sprightly little EVs. BMW seems to be among the most EV-savvy of the legacy automakers – among other initiatives, it has had some success selling the i3 to fleet operators.
Volkswagen, demoralized by its diesel deception, has hinted that it may get serious about EVs. Lux Research, for one, thinks VW is better positioned than any other major OEM to do so. The e-Golf sold 4,232 units in 2015.
Several new plug-in models debuted in 2015 – the Tesla Model X, BMW X5 xDrive40e, Mercedes S550 PHEV, Hyundai Sonata PHEV (featured in the current issue of Charged), Volvo XC90 T8 Twin Engine PHEV, and Audi A3 Sportback e-tron had all racked up a few sales by year’s end.
Toyota’s Prius Plug-in, once a front-runner, seems to be washed up – by October, sales had dwindled to double digits. A redesigned Prius hybrid is scheduled to appear soon, but so far we’ve heard no details about the new plug-in version that’s expected to follow.